Is the inexorable march to the suburban fringe over? As the recession follows the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, there are interesting developments in real estate economics and geography. I have taught Preservation Planning for more than a dozen years and I would always exhort students that real estate values, having gone up over the last 30 years, could also go down, as history shows and capitalism demands. That was probably the part of the lecture that elicited a “yeah, sure.” Now, we are at “I told you so” and who better to tell you than someone who just bought and sold houses in the worst market in a quarter century? But enough about me. Continue Reading
UIC Professor Robert Bruegmann’s new book: Sprawl: A Compact History (U of C Press) is out, and it is a stunner. Jonathan Fine of Preservation Chicago alerted me to its imminent appearance, although having worked with Bruegmann as my dissertation advisor over the last few years I knew it was on the way.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has made sprawl a celebrated cause for preservationists for the last decade. Sprawl hurts historic communities and must be stopped. It is something everyone seems to agree on.
Bruegmann’s new book has his typically contrarian take on popular progressive issues: He seems to like sprawl and believes that most people like it in practice, even if they dislike the idea of it.
Heresy! How can I read such filth! Continue Reading